How do Children Survive to Adulthood?

Yesterday at work, 3 nine year old boys rode their bikes into our parking lot and started screwing around. They went to the gas pump, took the nozzle and sprayed gas onto the ground.

AND THEN THREW A MATCH ON IT. Apparently the resulting flame up went right up into the face of one of the kids. Thankfully, they all walked away unhurt.

Or more accurately, panicked and ran up into the parking lot to hide among the buses when the general manager ran out to put out the fire. The police arrived and the kids were unsurprisingly caught and given the scared straight treatment. Moms were summoned.

I commented to my co-worker that I would have been spanked. My mom was very formal on spanking. We talked about what I did, then she pronounced the punishment, we went to cedar chest and I was spanked. She never did it in anger. But I think if I had nearly burned my face off, she might have been a bit more terrified and that might have come out in the spanking. Because anger is often a byproduct of fear.

Perhaps lessons were learned. Ideally by our company. Put a lock on the gas pump. It can be one of those coded locks, but something that protects it from the idiocy of humans and children alike.

Anyway, 3 kids nearly had a life ending/changing experience. Happily they will go on to make more mischief, hopefully elsewhere.

When Gallbladders Attack

Two weeks ago Saturday evening I got an attack of acid reflux. A thing that happens periodically to me. It’s painful and awful but not particularly frightening. After taking the acid reducers and tums and walking the floor, I started to dry heave. Not a pleasant thing, but it did shift my gastro distress away from the painful acid reflux and I fell asleep. I woke up with pain and bloating in my upper abdomen radiating down the right slide to where my appendix presumably is.. I just tolerated my way through it all day but as these things do, it got worse at night and I began to consider the possibility that it was appendix.

In the morning it continued and I was going to call off work, but another co-workers son was in the ER and so she was off, so I dragged myself in. I lasted 3 hours, made a complete hash of an invoice and left. I contacted the doctor and got a tele-appointment for the following day and that netted an X Ray order. X-ray came back as possible kink in my intestine? Need CT. Go to the ER. By this time it was Friday afternoon. I fully expected the CT would show them something like a broken rib, but nope.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Inflamed Gallbladder – Cholecystitis for those who like the technical jargon. It sucks. They admitted me. I assumed to yank that damn organ. But apparently it’s not that simple when the gallbladder is so inflamed and the patient has been sick for a week and is therefore severely dehydrated. They put me in ICU, put a drain in the gallbladder and liver and then waited for the infection to get back into a zone that normal people live in. 8 days in the hospital. It’s painful. Its exhausting and most of all it’s inconvenient. The drain will remain for about 8 weeks and then they will pull the drain and the gallbladder out.

Things to know about this – the bile from your gallbladder is DISGUSTING. Utterly disgusting. I know because I have a bag of it hanging off my belly. It has to be drained and measured on the regular, which is doable. I’m considering starting a side hustle where I charge people to watch me empty the disgusting bile. I honestly bet there is money in it. Probably I could be Tik Tok famous in seconds for it.

Photo by Keira Burton on Pexels.com

While I was in the hospital my sisters cleaned my apartment from floor to ceiling. Which was a gift beyond measure. I am not ever going to get a good housekeeping award, but I generally keep the chaos at bay, if not the dust. But since the pandemic my apartment has slowly devolved into a small cesspool. When I got sick, it turned into an island in the sewage treatment plant. It was awful. And they braved it and fixed it. They’ve been clucking around like mother hens since I got sick and now that I am home they are, if anything more worried. But I’m fine. It’s a small space and I’m pretty secure on my feet.

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko on Pexels.com

I’m thinking I might be able to work from home the first half of the week and shift to the job mid week? I might be being optimistic. I just want my life to go back to normal. How to deal with the drains in the real world is a question. They are much bigger than the surgical drains I’ve had in the past. My sister is making me a pocket on belt that I hope will answer. Picture a mini apron where the apron is just a pocket for the drains. All my tops are tunics, so I think after that it will be OK? We’ll see. I’m pretty sure they will send me home if anyone catches a glimpse of the bags. It might create an uncomfortable environment for my co-workers wondering if the bile bag explodes does that create a bio-hazard?

The cats, at least, are happy I am home. It was nice to have all of them on the bed with me last night. Although, it is not perhaps very clear that they care in the least that I am also in the bed in this pic, since EVERYONE is studiously ignoring Mom acting stupid with her phone again.

New to Me Laptop is finally here

My cats, lovely beasts generally, killed my previous laptop. It was a long and torturous death made by cracking the hinges by sitting on the closed laptop. Then the case began to split at the seams. And then it began to act a bit…wonky. Eventually it fled to the ether, leaving an unresponsive black screen. They have killed 5 laptops in the last 20 odd years. I am finally fed up. I have purchased a Panasonic ToughBook. They run a bit pricey for my blood, so I got a refurbished one. The government having kindly given me some extra spendable.

It took it’s sweet time arriving and then didn’t work. But the company was very friendly and immediately offered to replace it. So I sent it back and waited another 10 days and it finally arrived on Thursday. I waited out it’s quarantine period and finally opened it today. It’s quite nice. Keyboard is quite a bit smaller than my last one and so it’s taking some getting used to. Still, it feels good to have the thing. And I don’t think the beasts will be able to crack it.

I cannot type on glass. So anything more than 20 words was not offered to anyone in the last month or more. And all of those were painfully wrought. I like keyboards. Indeed I like mechanical keyboards the best. But that’s because I’m old.

I’ve had that diagnosis confirmed by a teenager in the grocery last week. His sister was pushing the cart while swiping the phone and nearly collided with me. He chastised her for running into the old lady. He was then covered in embarrassment as he remembered that calling a woman old in her hearing is not good manners. I was not offended, having already diagnosed myself with the malady and was more amused by his embarrassment than anything.

I am currently suffering of stomach. Yesterday it was acutely painful acid reflux. This morning it feels like I have a great big pointy lump in my belly. Also just ache. I find I’m more frightened of these kinds of things than I was in my youth. When I was young, I knew that the suffering was temporary and not a reason to even call a doctor. Last night I was convinced I had stomach cancer, hiatal hernia, bleeding ulcers, and that I should consider a trip to the ER. Just as in my youth, the stomach pain has subsided and is merely a whisper of last night. But by god I was frightened by it. Perhaps more so because I’m alone. Suffering alone is more frightening I think.

Anyway, anxiety aside, I’m recovering and will hopefully continue in that vein.

Did I ever tell you about Jim Foster?

Jim was one of my many bosses and my friend. He died this past Wednesday morning from cancer. I say cancer generally because by the time it was over, it felt like the cancer had ridden into most of his body. But it was technically the brain cancer that finally won a battle after Jim won in so many other battles with the beast in other parts of his body.

He never seemed to mind it. Because that was Jim. Jim wasn’t stoic about it or anything really. He was just full of life and always willing to find the laughter, no matter how bad the diagnosis or how shitty he felt. And he did feel shitty. He was originally diagnosed with kidney cancer and I believe it was already at stage 4. He just took that news and took the treatments and kept coming to work. Invited his grandkids over to shave his head and made a party out of it.

Because Jim loved a party. He was functioning alcoholic, claimed the fact as a matter of course and never showed the slightest shame over it. He was by all accounts a rollicking drunk. That lack of shame was a revelation to me. In my family alcoholism was shame personified. It was watching him that showed me that a huge part of the destructiveness of the disease in my family was the shame.

I don’t think anyone ever met Jim and didn’t immediately like him. He was the campfire the rest of us were sitting around, enjoying the glow of his energy and joy. He had a story for every occasion, many of them off color but not offensively so. All of them bubbling with laughter.

When he loved you, you knew it. He had a blazing insult battery that he aimed at those men he was fondest of. He worked with his best friend running the day to day operations of the company. You could not walk into the workspace without getting caught in insult crossfire. But he was equally protective of his best friend, sending emails asking why his BF was taking calls and answering group emails… ie doing the work the rest of us were responsible for. And he tempered his insults for the audience. He knew I was mental mess, and so he always adjusted for me. He made active efforts not to startle me – which is so easy to do and many people do it deliberately just for the comic effect. That small act of consideration is why I know the depth of his kindness. So few people think it’s worth noting except as a joke.

My greatest respect for a co-worker is if they do their job well. Jim was very good at his job. He was good at bringing in business, at building relationships with organizations that would bring us strong loyalty from them. He was fair about distributing the work he drummed up to the reservations team, because when he got us work, it was often large, and the time involved in entering reservations was not inconsiderable. He could easily have focused his attention on the 2 or 3 most experienced and reliable reservationist. But he spread it, but still judiciously handed his biggest and most complicated jobs to his most trusted reservationist. In my opinion, that is wise management. Don’t overwhelm your best with all your work, but pick out the “can’t go wrong” work for them.

Jim lived his life as the spark of energy in every interaction. He cared and it showed. No one met him and didn’t like him. Those kinds of people are so rare, it feels like we need to provide extra protection to them. But the universe decided it had gifted us long enough with his loving insults and his hilarious stories and just ripped him away. And didn’t even do it kindly. I hate that he isn’t here any more. I just hate it.

Seriously, Samsung?

I was just watching a slice of joy on tiktok. It was xchucklesx if you want to know. He dances to ANY music. I was introduced to him by his dance to a bit of Bach, or possibly Rachmaninoff, in any case it was not music that I thought could be danced to. But Chuckles did it so successfully I wanted more.

So, I was looking for a distraction from my besetting anxiety about…. Gestures Broadly… and was perusing Chuckles and his family dancing to Love Train. And it was indeed the bit of joy I needed. And then Samsung decided I didn’t have sufficient battery and just blacked out the screen in the middle of my joy. But I did apparently have sufficient battery for them to remind me that I should be angry with Samsung by putting their logo up.

Look. I get it. This is my fault. They warned me at 15% and 5%, but what I need in these cases is a warning 90 seconds, 60 seconds, 30 seconds, 15 seconds….

I got their last warning just as I was getting ready to leave the house. I wanted to be on time for hostess, and finding charging cables wasn’t on my mind. So when I got home I fired up the tiktok, as you do… And then just when I found my slice of joy – boom. No warning because the 5% was apparently my last chance.

If you have let your battery get below 5 percent – you are the sort of person who needs more and urgent warnings closer to the event. Bad design, Samsung. Bad Design.

So, Voting is here.

Photo by Element5 Digital on Pexels.com

I ordered a mail in ballot. Then didn’t mail it in, so now I have to show up. Some days, weeks, months, ok. Some years it’s just hard to survive much less be organized about mailing something.

Actually mailing things has been a life long issue with me. In my 20s my bills were perpetually a bit late merely because I couldn’t seem to stuff an envelope, and put the damn thing in the mail. My credit soared with advent of the internet banking.

Anyway, here in procrastination central, we have finally decided to look at the ballot and do a bit of research. In Ohio, they don’t tell you which party a candidate is with on the ballot. Is that true everywhere? I don’t know. But while I have definitely voted for Republicans locally in the past, I will no longer give any credence to that party. It’s like there’s a giant seeping tumor in the party and they are dancing around pretending it’s not there. So it’s important to know who is who because I’m not spreading the cancer.

Anyway, I went to Ballotpedia to check out the candidates. And some of them don’t even have pictures on Ballotpedia. How half assed do you have to be in order to run for office? I’m suspecting that a quarter ass might be sufficient. They are carrying a camera on their person 24 hours a day, but don’t have a public facing picture to put on Ballotpedia? I might assume Ballotpedia just doesn’t trouble themselves with minor local election candidates, except it’s not all of them. Some have pictures.

It’s just interesting to me. How hyped up we are about the National Election and how completely unimportantly we treat a local commissioner or Engineer. On my ballot there are several offices with only one person running. No clue at all if the people are competent or not. The Coroner and the Engineer are both undisputed. Do they even have the necessary education for the jobs? Do we even have minimum requirements? A quick google check does not provide any enlightenment on the subject. And since no one is challenging them, I guess it’s not going to be questioned if they don’t. They are both incumbents.

I lived in a town a few years ago where the actual city council members went into elections unchallenged. School board was the same.

It’s not an election if there isn’t a choice.

Photo by Artem Podrez on Pexels.com

Do they though?

This post is a form of procrastination

I’m being helped with my procrastination.

I need to log into work and actually do my job. Today is the first of the month, which means I should be sending out bills. Tomorrow, Monday, is the only day I’m officially at work next week. I’m taking vacation and having a lovely staycation. But it means that all the tasks in and around the 1st of the month must be done before I go. Which is why I planned to do some of it today.

But here we are. Today. And here I am writing about working instead of actually working.

My anxiety has been in top form for months. Pandemics and Elections have not been conducive to strong mental health. Being short on money is also not helping. I did not lose my job during this nightmare, but I have about 25 percent fewer hours. This has a corresponding effect on my income. For quite awhile now I have been slicing away at the stimulus money that I saved until it is now very low tide in the savings account. Indeed, I’m feeling like a fish caught in a tidal pool at low tide.

My county has a fund from the CARES bill that will help you pay rent. I’m well inside the income requirements, but it seems to be focused on people who are in arrears on their rent and utilities. I am not and mean not to be. Which is why I was considering applying for assistance until I can get my tax refund and replenish my savings. However, I don’t think I will get it as I am current on all bills except medical ones. Trying to avoid getting behind is not as urgent as being behind.

I need to live smaller. I used to make less and survived. But I lived a bit smaller. I need to find that small life again.

“Until we have begun to go without them, we fail to realize how unnecessary many things are. We’ve been using them not because we needed them but because we had them.”
― Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Letters from a Stoic

Rope – Ever as It Always Was

I was just wandering around the rabbit holes of Wikipedia. There I discovered that there was a nearly intact boat inside the base of one of the pyramids. I naturally clicked to learn more and as I was perusing the lovely images, this picture showed up!

That right there is not the pile of rope found at your local marina. Although you would NOT be at fault for assuming it was. That is the rope found with the boat in the base of the pyramid. It’s rope from 4500+ years ago.

Rope has not become irrelevant. It has not changed dramatically at all. It’s the same and still necessary. Certainly, today, we have more fiber options, more effective machines to make it, and still this ancient rope would blend right in at the marina. Because we still make rope the same way the ancients did. We twist up fibers. And then we twist up the twists, etc.

There is evidence of cord that Neanderthals used 40,000 years ago! Three ply cord.

It useful. Indeed it’s necessary. The ancient method for making it was so good that we have just kept right on doing it. I find that mind bogglingly beautiful.

Stuff that has happened

Why doesn’t anything work anymore?

Anyone else’s notification bell not working? It hasn’t worked for weeks. I click and it thinks – remaining blank while it thinks. So if you replied to a comment I made, I probably didn’t see it.

Don’t even get me started on this new and unimproved editor.

This new goddamn editor doesn’t actually let me fix anything in a post. Instead of defaulting to inserting text, it’s overwriting it. Like this is 1995. What the hell? I actually had to take the paragraph out of the editor put it into Notepad, fix my text and then paste it back into the worst text editor of all time. I have no idea what I did to cause this because every damn thing about this thing is obscure and stupid.

I saw where I could switch to Classic Editor and clicked with glee. It’s not the classic editor. It’s a subdued pop up version of the old perfectly useful and functional editor. I miss it. I do. I’m old. I’m now grouchy about changes. And lauding the old ways.

Anyway – Let’s move on to brighter things – Cats.

FC took a jump off the balcony on Sunday. He had been going out on the balcony and being a well behaved boy for weeks. But Sunday was an especially beautiful day and I think it was more than he could stand to be inside. So he jumped, I heard the spindly tree shake as he caught it and went running downstairs. He was standing proudly at the bottom of the tree, looked me in the eye with defiance, raised his tail and stalked off into the underbrush for a walkabout. So I let him.

I went out at dinner time with some food, and he immediately came up, so instead of putting it down I decided to see if I could get him to walk into the building of his own volition. He did tentatively follow me in and walk up a half flight but got spooked by someone out on the sidewalk and took off out the door. I followed him with the food and we regrouped at the old feeding spot. He was very wary of being caught and so I decided to let him spend the night out. It was going to be a cold night – mid 40s. I decided he might be more amenable after a cold night.

I woke up at 6am and went down in the dark to find my boy, who immediately greeted me and was all kinds of fine with being picked up to come home. We had a lovely cuddle when we got in and he seems to have settled down – not even begging to go out.

I wish I had a way to let him come and go.

Tomatoes, Squirrels and Birds…Oh My

Tomatoes – now it’s me, the squirrel and some damn bird eating the last of the tomatoes. I don’t think I’m going get any of the last ones. Which is fine, honestly. They are hungrier, but… I never did get a decent sized one.

Oh well. Life goes on. Next year, I’m going to ask the landlord if I can put a couple of pots next to the driveway. Then there will be plenty of sun.

Oh. The Disappointment

The 2020 shitshow has extended to my tomato plants.  My harvest is deeply underwhelming.  I ate my first ones this past week.  In September.  Everyone else is getting tomatoes at the end of July.  I get them in September.  

Also – small.  Very small.  All three plants.  And I don’t think it’s just the fact that I’m in a race with the bastard squirrel to harvest them, so I tend to pick as soon as they show any sign of changing color rather than leaving them on the plant to ripen – which would be ideal.  I’ve only got 3 tomatoes of normal size.  Most are slightly bigger than a cherry when they turn red.  Some are cherry size.  None are beefsteak size.  sad tomato harvest

The plants seemed to thrive, despite being in a less than ideal sun location.  Of the three plants, the volunteer definitely did the best.  And honestly has amazeball tasting tomatoes.  It’s too bad I don’t know what it is.  But I will be saving seed.  But even though the plants grew and seem healthy, I think it’s the lack of sufficient sun that is making the harvest so weak.  

Despite all of that, I am honestly delighted in my misfits.  Eating tomatoes you grow yourself is lovely.  They did not live up to my dreams of their harvest, but I have a long record of dreaming one thing and experiencing another, so – not really surprising.